By: Luke Bonner, VP of Business Development, Ann Arbor SPARK
SPARK’s Business Development is constantly working to build relationships within the Ann Arbor region through business retention visits & networking events. The last month the SPARK Business Development team has been working on overdrive to create new opportunities for the region, and working just as diligent to seal some deals. SPARK has spent time in Atlanta and Toronto following leads and creating new relationships. We have also hosted several companies from outside the state and country, who are looking at our region as a potential destination.
We have recently ramped up efforts in Livingston County. The partnership with SPARK, and the Livingston County Economic Development Council was finalized, staff has been hired, and a 60-day plan was launched. Livingston County stakeholders are very passionate about their region, and this was most evident at the recent Advantage Livingston event.
SPARK is moving two industry cluster initiatives forward, with our Medical Device Manufacturers, and our Optic and Photonics companies. These initiatives only move forward with tremendous support of the companies, and we have that on both fronts.
Hyundai’s expansion was completely finalized with the support of the Michigan Strategic Fund Board last month at their meeting in Lansing. Hyundai is receiving $2.5 million to eliminate an infrastructure cost gap that will allow them to expand here as opposed to one of their facilities down south or out west. This investment continues to demonstrate that the Ann Arbor region and southeast Michigan is a global hub for automotive research and development.
Finally, our MichAGAIN program season is now in full swing. SPARK and MEDC just returned from Palo Alto and San Francisco. While out there, we met with Matt Fischer, the Director of the Apple App store. Matt grew up in Ann Arbor, and graduated from Huron High. Matt’s dad Ken is the Director of the University of Michigan Musical Society, and a member of the SPARK Board. Our other stops in 2012 include Boston in June, Washington DC in October, and Chicago in November. We will be blogging at these upcoming MichAGAIN events, so we will keep you posted!